The forces that make humans
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleFTR-FIPPSB315
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies; Opleiding Filosofie;
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. H. Westerink
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. H. Westerink
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. H. Westerink
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
PER1  (04/09/2023 to 05/11/2023)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of this course you will have insight in:
  • fundamental discussions in psychoanalysis on the relation between ontogeny and phylogeny;
  • psychoanalytic discussions on the natural and cultural forces that shape the human being and its psychic life;
  • Foucault's critique of psychoanalysis;
  • reception of psychoanalysis in contemporary philosophy notably new materialism
Ever-increasing individualism is often seen as a hallmark of modern Western societies. Those same modern societies, however, have always debated whether the supposedly autonomous and free individual might not be at the mercy of, for example, their bodily functions and apparatus, their unconscious drives and their surrounding culture or language. This question is at the heart of various psychoanalytic theories. In psychoanalysis we find fundamental debates on the question whether and in what way subjects are primarily shaped by phylogenetic aspects and constitutional drives and forces (Freud, Jung, Ferenczi) or whether the subject is the effect of its place and role in culture and language (Lacan). In this course we will not only focus on relevant positions in psychoanalysis through a reading of selected texts, but also address Foucault’s critique of psychoanalysis and his views on the technologies and practices through which individuals can transform and shape themselves. And finally, we will explore the influence of psychoanalysis on some authors associated with new materialism.

Presumed foreknowledge
Test information
This course is part of a module of three courses in the Philosophy, Politics and Society bachelor programme. You can only take this course if you also take the two associated courses during the same semester. If you want to register for the three courses in this module, you must FIRST register for the module itself via the 'Minor' tab in Osiris, and THEN register for the courses themselves. For an overview of modules and their associated courses, see the course guides on the website of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies.
Required materials
Selection of texts will be made available through Brightspace.

Instructional modes
Lecture and seminar
Attendance MandatoryYes

Test weight1
Test typePaper